Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Top Five iPhone Apps

     I like to think that I'm not one of these people who is constantly glued to their phone (though I do spend an awful lot of time online, be it with my phone or computer), and certainly compared to many people in Hong Kong who play games with the volume up loud on public transport or who collide with you in the street because they can't tear their eyes away from the screen, I don't think I'm that bad. I do use it plenty though, and would be a little lost without it by now! So today I'm listing my top 5 favourite and/or most used apps on my current iPhone. The Facebook and Twitter apps are probably my most used, but I use their websites just as much, so they're not exclusively apps, and not my favourites - they're just easy for scrolling and checking in with people and news. The links here go to the iTunes store, for anyone wanting to check them out - no commission or affiliation attached - and the images are screenshots from each app.

Top Five iPhone Apps

Monday, 26 June 2017

Outfit - Shades for Days

     I am obsessed with my new sunglasses, and it's definitely the time of year for them (when the rainstorms Hong Kong is prone to let up). This pair was very kindly sent to me by SmartBuyGlasses, in exchange for including them in this post. I chose the Ray Ban Denim Wayfarers, as I've always wanted but never had a pair of Ray Bans, and these were a little more unusual than lots of other sunglasses. Their website also has a huge range of eyewear from various other brands to choose from, and they are based here in Hong Kong, so my delivery time was fast. I didn't actually realise that these had denim material covering them, as from the photos I assumed it was a pattern on plastic, so I was surprised to see the fabric, but I still really like it. My only complaint is that the frames are a little wide for my head on one side, so I have to hook them well behind my ear.

     The rest of this outfit is all pretty new too as a matter of fact; I didn't do a big summer shop, since i'm budgeting, but I refreshed a few items. All my old shorts were getting a bit worn out, so I picked up some new pairs from H&M. I like to have at least one black or grey pair, such as these, that can be dressed up smarter, but still keeps you cool in summer. This top has been in my wardrobe for months, as I got it in last year's sales through the winter, so it's only hot enough to wear it now. I really like the pattern, and the floaty back is especially nice when I get sweaty in the humidity here. The sandals were also new, as I only had flip flops and I wanted something a little bit smarter. These will match anything in my wardrobe, and are good for both day and night (an we also appreciate that I painted my toes for the first time in forever for this post?).

Shades for Days - outfit accessory details of Ray Bans denim wayfarer sunglasses, silver padlock earrings and double silver fang necklaces

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A-Z of My Favourite Albums

     I was brainstorming what else I could potentially make an A-Z list of, now that I've covered quite a few already, and settled on choosing my favourite albums for each letter. This produces an interesting list, as it means some of my favourite bands are featured multiple times, while other letters throw up albums I don't listen to as often, but I have few other options for that letter - or some letters have nothing at all! This is by no means my all-time favourite albums, because of that fact, nor is this the best albums of all-time, as everything is chosen from my own iTunes library. It's an A-Z of my favourite albums, from the bands I listen to. I've linked back to some of my own reviews, for more details on some of these as well!

(image source - with my text added)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Your Feelings Are Valid

     Your feelings are valid. Always remember that. We exist in microcosms and macrocosms, affected by the events of the wider world, and by the small day to day occurrences of our personal lives. Yes, there are terrible things happening in the world, and yes, there are people out there who likely have it far worse than you do. But that does not negate what you feel. That does not mean you aren't allowed to feel sad or scared or angry or anxious. Your feelings matter.

Quote "You have a right to your thoughts and feelings. Your feelings are always valid." on ocean sunset background

Monday, 19 June 2017

Outfit - Tropical Storms

     Summer in Hong Kong means heat and humidity; but that humidity also means rain. And by rain, I mean torrential tropical thunderstorms! It hasn't stopped raining for the past week, and is scheduled to continue for the next one too. Since I finally got my camera back from the repair centre, I was ready to start outfit posts again, but the weather forced me to take my photos indoors again, with my tiny room and less than ideal lighting, but I think these pictures came out a little better than expected after editing, honestly (yes, I'm standing on the bed, it's the only way to get everything in the light!). I got this top a while back, and it's really versatile to mix and match with different bottoms. The rain makes it cool enough again to wear jeans from time to time (by cool, I still mean mid-20s degrees), which I'd been avoiding a few weeks ago in the sweltering heat. And these shoes were a recent purchase; I like the fun print for the summer, and they're super easy to slip on and off, while being just a bit sturdier than sandals, or a good option for situations requiring closed-toe shoes (work, temple visits etc).

Tropical Storms | outfit of purple striped t-shirt, blue skinny jeans and floral print espadrilles

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Summer Tag

     The temperature is rising, and so too is the humidity, at least here in Hong Kong anyway. This does mean some tropical thunderstorms and typhoons, but overall, the weather is hot, sunny, and humid, and I'm having to get used to being a walking bucket of sweat again for the next couple of months. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with summer, as it's normally when I travel most, and I like being on the beach or in the ocean, or able to spend some more time outside in general. What I don't like is being said walking bucket of sweat, nor the bug bites that accompany this weather. So, I thought this would be an appropriate time to answer some summer tag questions.

"Summer Tag" text on a beach backdrop, from Boracay, Philippines

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

An Afternoon in Aberdeen | Hong Kong

     Despite having lived in Scotland for the first 21 years of my life, I've never been to Aberdeen - I lived in the Lowlands, and just never had reason to go. So imagine my surprise to discover that Aberdeen also exists in Hong Kong. There's actually a lot of places here named after places in the UK, but Aberdeen was the first place that the British landed in Hong Kong, all those years ago (don't ask me the exact date). It's a popular tourist site these days, as it was one of the oldest fishing villages, and you can still see lots of boats coming in and out its harbour every day. The local boats are called sampans and there are now dozens of them offering tours around the floating village in the harbour (many people live on boats moored here). Aberdeen is also home to Jumbo Kingdom, the largest floating restaurant in Asia. And I finally visited the area last weekend, after at long last getting my camera back from the repair centre!

Boats in the harbour of Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Monday, 12 June 2017

Yellow | Colour

     It's bright, cheery, and happy. It's vibrant and energising. It's sickly and nauseating.

Yellow flower blossom in tree top, with sky and sun behind

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Travel Inspiration - Costa Rica

     I feel like Costa Rica has been gaining in popularity as a travel destination a lot in recent years; it's certainly the country I'd heard the most about in Central America, prior to my trip there (Mexico excluded). It's got a bit of everything I guess, beaches, jungles, volcanos, and a boatload of adrenaline based activities. I didn't get to see all of the country during my time there - we were inland, so no beaches - but I spent time in two of its most popular locations, Monterverde and La Fortuna. I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie myself, and my fear of heights put me off activities like zip-lining and canyoneering. If a harness is required, I'm probably out! I did go white water rafting though, which I'd done before, and is great fun - kind of hard to take pictures of though! I also explored the hanging bridges in the cloud forest, took a tour of a coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane plantation, took a boat tour in CaƱo Negro, and visited a hot springs resort (again, no photos of that last one, being in the water and all).

Hanging bridges in the Cloud Forest, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Top Five TV Shows of 2016-2017

      I'm a TV junkie, I really am. It's appalling how many shows I try to keep up with, and every year I say "oh I won't start many new ones this time", yet I still do. Or I binge watch something over the summer, then add it to my list for the new season (i.e. I just finished every episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine, so I'll be watching that weekly come September). Sometimes shows start to decline, and I stop watching, others I persist with, mostly because I've probably been watching for a few years already. But which of my many shows were my favourites this year? In the last couple of years (14-15, 15-16 seasons), I've been a big fan of the DC comics shows on the CW (yes, I watch way too much American TV), and while I still watch and enjoy them, they've slipped from my list this year, as they didn't really stand out for me this year, and many have become too serious all the time, losing the comedic elements I so enjoyed. I've also left off shows like Orphan Black and Game of Thrones this time, simply because they're both starting later this year, in the summer. So, in no particular order, here's my top five from the last year.

TV screen with text - Top Five TV Shows of 2016-2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Review - All Time Low: Last Young Renegade

     Seven albums is an almighty achievement for bands these days, many not making it that far, especially in the non-mainstream genres such as pop-punk and alt-rock. So I'll start by applauding All Time Low for making it this far, after more than ten years together, and still with their original lineup. Recently their contemporaries, like Fall Out Boy and Paramore, have turned their sound towards the pop music of the mainstream, sounding very different to their earlier releases. And after hearing the first few singles from Last Young Renegade, it shouldn't come as a surprise that All Time Low have turned down a similar direction. So how does this release stack up to the rest?

Album cover art work for Last Young Renegade: All Time Low

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Hiking: Mui Wo to Pui O

      I will never get enough of public holidays! It's so refreshing to have a midweek break, and splitting the week in half like that makes it far easier to get through the whole thing. This week it was Dragon Boat Festival on Tuesday. I went to Stanley last year to see some of the races, but when you don't know any of the teams competing, I found it got a little boring kind of quickly. So this year I opted to skip it, and steer clear of the major racing locations (mostly on the south side of the island, or out towards Sai Kung), and use the sunshine for a hiking day. I picked one on Lantau Island, to steer clear of the holiday traffic as much as possible, going from Mui Wo ferry pier to Pui O beach.

Ocean views on the Lantau Trail from Mui Wo to Pui O, Hong Kong

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Summer Sun

     Summer is most definitely here. It is so hot now! Well, it's hot, yes, but it's actually the humidity that lets me know summer has arrived here in Asia. It's been muggy for days now, and the moisture just builds and builds until it has to rain; which arrived today, and will continue for the rest of the week. And then the moisture will start to build again, keeping up the cycle all summer. It's tough to do anything on the really humid days, as you just feel so sweaty and lethargic, and a bit grumpy in my case about it all. But on the not-so-gross-and-sweaty days, Hong Kong is out in force, enjoying the sunshine.

Chung Hom Kok beach, Hong Kong Island

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